Mike Kelly (gridiron football)

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Mike Kelly
Current position
TitleHead coach
Biographical details
Born (1958-02-11) February 11, 1958 (age 60)
Waterbury, Connecticut
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1980–1981Ridgedale HS (OH) (RB/S)
1982Edinboro (WR)
1983–1985Marietta (RB)
1986Ohio Wesleyan (OC)
1987–1989Capital (OC)
1990–1991San Francisco State (associate HC)
1992–1996Winnipeg Blue Bombers (OC)
1997–1999Valdosta State
2001Orlando Rage (OC)
2002Philadelphia Eagles (OA/QC)
2008Edmonton Eskimos (WR)
2009Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2001Philadelphia Eagles (advance scout)
2003–2005Washington Redskins (pro pers. asst.)
2009Winnipeg Blue Bombers (GM)
Head coaching record
Overall50–35 (college)
7–11 (CFL)
Tournaments2–1 (NCAA D-III playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 MAC (2014)
MAC Coach of the Year (2014)
ECAC South Region Co-Coach of the Year (2014)

Mike Kelly (born February 11, 1958) is an American gridiron football coach and former player, scout, and executive. He is currently the head football coach at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 2014. Kelly served as the head football coach at Valdosta State University from 1997 to 1999. In 2009, he was the head coach and general manager for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He has served as an assistant coach at the high school football level, for several college football teams, and for professional teams in the CFL, XFL, and the National Football League (NFL). Kelly played college football as a quarterback at Bluffton College—now Bluffton University—in the late 1970s.

Playing career and education[edit]

Kelly graduated Muncie Northside High School in 1976, where as a senior he set a school record for passes attempted and completed in a single season. In 1996 Kelly was inducted into the Delaware County, Indiana Athletic Hall of Fame. Kelly's father was a high school football coach in Waterbury, Connecticut.[1]

Kelly played quarterback for Bluffton College from 1976 to 1979 and earned his bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation. When he graduated, Kelly ranked third in career completions (95), fourth in career attempts (242) and fifth in career passing yardage (1,028). He was just the sixth player in BC history to pass for over 1,000 yards. In 2002, Kelly was inducted into the Bluffton College Hall of Fame.

Kelly earned a master's degree in education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

Coaching career[edit]

Kelly was the offensive play-caller with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers between 1992 and 1996, as part of the teams that captured three regular season division titles and appeared in the Grey Cup twice. Kelly's offence set 29 club records during his tenure in Winnipeg, including Matt Dunigan's record 713 yards passing in a game.

Kelly was the head coach at Valdosta State University from 1997 to 1999. In his three seasons there, Kelly coached 23 players to all-conference honours and had two players earn All-American status and four more recruited players later achieving All-American status. His VSU teams set 13 school records during Kelly's tenure. In 2000, Kelly added the XFL to his coaching resume, where he worked as the offensive coordinator for the Orlando Rage. The Rage went a league best 8–2 during that season, winning the Eastern Division. Kelly's offence led the league in red zone scoring percentage, with quarterback Jeff Brohm named First-Team All-XFL.

Kelly spent five years in the National Football League working as an advanced pro scout for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles[1] where he also was an offensive assistant/quality control. During his time with the Eagles, while working alongside head coach Andy Reid, the club won two NFC East championships, while Kelly also coached in the 2003 Pro Bowl.

In 2008 Kelly was the receivers coach for the Edmonton Eskimos. Quarterback Ricky Ray had a personal best 5,600 yards passing while slot receivers Kamau Peterson caught over 100 passes and was named Most Outstanding Canadian Player and Kelly Campbell led the CFL averaging 23.7 yards per reception.

Kelly served as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009.[2] The team saw five players leave the team to sign with the National Football League in the option year of their Canadian Football League contract while four other import players were invited to private try-outs with NFL clubs. Kelly also coordinated the offense for half of the season, in which the team went 7–11 missing a home play-off berth by a single game. In December 2009, Kelly was arrested for domestic abuse and was subsequently released from the team.[3][4] The charges were later dropped.[5]

In his first season with Widener,[6] Kelly led Widener University to its record setting 20th Middle Atlantic Conference Championship and an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Championship Play-Offs. His record twelve consecutive wins broke a school record that had stood since 1912 for wins by a first year coach. For his efforts he was named the MAC Coach of the Year and the ECAC South Co-Coach of the Year.[7]

Teaching career[edit]

Kelly became a professor of sports management at Drexel University[7] in Philadelphia instructing both undergraduate and graduate courses in coaching and leadership. In 2006–07, Kelly was recognized by Drexel with the "Make a Difference Award" for outstanding mentoring and teaching.

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Valdosta State Blazers (Gulf South Conference) (1997–1999)
1997 Valdosta State 6–5 5–3 T–4th
1998 Valdosta State 5–6 4–5 T–5th
1999 Valdosta State 4–5 3–4 T–6th
Valdosta State: 15–16 12–12
Widener Pride (Middle Atlantic Conference) (2014–present)
2014 Widener 12–1 9–0 1st L NCAA Division III Quarterfinal
2015 Widener 6–4 6–3 4th
2016 Widener 6–4 6–3 4th
2017 Widener 7–4 7–2 T–2nd
2018 Widener 4–6 4–4 T–4th
Widener: 35–19 32–12
Total: 50–35
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
WPG 2009 7 11 0 .389 3rd, East - - Missed Playoffs
Total 7 11 0 .389 0 Division
- - 0 Grey Cups


  1. ^ a b "Kelly Settling In As New Widener Football Head Coach". CBS Local Philadelphia. CBS Local Philadelphia. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Former Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly hoping to return to CFL". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  3. ^ http://www.tsn.ca/cfl/teams/story/?id=302712&hubname=cfl-blue_bombers
  4. ^ http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Bomber-coach-Kelly-charged-with-assault-79557357.html
  5. ^ http://www.winnipegsun.com/2014/02/28/mike-kelly-back-coaching-football
  6. ^ "Villanova in must-win situation on road". Delco Times. Delco Times. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Mike Kelly". Widener Pride. Widener Pride. Retrieved 6 October 2018.

External links[edit]